We spoke to 20 executives in 16 companies to get their perspective on the obstacles to success of enterprise integration initiatives at companies with which they have worked.
Here’s who we spoke to:
Adam Fingerman, Chief Experience Officer, ArcTouch | Jon Gelsey, CEO, Auth0 | Nishant Patel, CTO, and Matthew Baier, COO, Built.io |Tyson Whitten, API Management Product Marketing, CA Technologies | Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder, Coho Data | Zeev Avidan, V.P. Product Management, OpenLegacy | Mike Han, V.P. Operations, Liferay | Uri Sarid, CTO, Conor Curlett, Principal Architect, MuleSoft | Gabe Stanek, Director of Field Engineering, Neo Technology | Florent Solt, CTO, Netvibes | Sean Bowen, CEO, Push Technology | Jon Bock, Vice President Products, Snowflake Computing | James Jinnette, Director of Information Technology, unidentified CRO | Suchit Bachalli, President, Unilog |Asanka Abeysinghe, V.P. Solutions Architecture, WSO2 | Phil Manfredi, Aaron Sandeen and Kiran Chinnagangannagari, Co-Founders, Zuggand
The primary obstacles to success of enterprise integration projects at client sites seem to revolve around unrealistic expectations and the failure by vendors to do proper due diligence before proposing a solution.
- The main problem is non-technical sponsors for different units. How you can consolidate enterprise integration - need standards across the enterprise that you’re building platforms across. Traditional programmers don’t like the configuration driven model.
- Solve the business problem. Cover all of the bases. A comprehensive platform can overcomplicate. Underestimation of the complexity of connecting different systems and platforms. Understand complexity of workflows - mobile is much more complex. Overestimation of the solution needed.
- It’s not technology. It’s selling the value to the client. Middleware is not sexy. Need to understand the goals of leadership and align to the business needs. Communicate the value of the platform. Culture to think about how APIs and enterprise platform change how business gets done. Need buy-in throughout the organization. Educate the business. Understand who owns the experience. Clearly show the value delivered versus the goals and objectives of the client.
- Education and time. Mobile is now understood. Change - it takes time to work through the system. Some businesses are moving incredibly fast. A lot of software vendors are excited about this because they’re able to sell into existing infrastructure without concern of integrating with ERP or mobile apps.
- Companies want to take it slow. Mobile is still new to most enterprises. Big companies like to take small steps. Learn as you go, iterate, and measure versus KPIs.
- Need people with the right skill sets. How to get the data pipeline built for projects. Hype gets in the way by setting unrealistic expectations. There’s a proliferation of new technologies. It’s difficult to know what a technology can actually do. Big budgets have made clients overly ambitious and have caused providers to overpromise on what they can deliver.
- Gaining access to information in different silos seamlessly while performing at a high level in an agile way. Ensure what you build is scalable - throttling and caching.
- Political issues - even the best technology and prices may not win a deal because of a previous relationship or a more aggressive competitor. You must understand, and provide the best solution to, the business issues.
- IT guys buying hardware have to support more and more apps - Splunk, big data, Spark, Docker, Coopernetics. This is a huge source of friction.
- Complexity. Baggage with integration what is SOA or service business. A lot of time to market. People want something in six to nine months but it takes a long time to integrate before you see and ROI - 18 to 24 months. Service bus takes time but helps phase II, III, IV. People focus on short cycle process of agile. Cannot forecast how other systems will work together. Something you build today may not be extensible in the future.
- Latency affects performance of an app and this causes revenue loss. Seeing 30 second latency. The problem becomes bigger as companies scale. Need to only move the data you really need, not everything. This is why it’s important to know the business case.
- Don’t know the big picture. Don’t understand the butterfly effect. Resource planning and personnel management.
- Not wrapping their mind around what they’re trying to get done. Need to think platform, methodology and mindset. Build on top of the platform to give a strong foundation to methodology and mindset. You need a mindset of rapid change with API-like connectivity and a layer of microservices - the poster child of rapid change.
- Biggest obstacle is risk mitigation with legacy systems. This hinders future growth. A lot more customers are looking at long-term value today. We need broader awareness and education. People develop an open source solution that catches on and you have to learn how to integrate with it.
What are the obstacles to enterprise integration that you see most frequently?